“In view of recent government announcement of ‘100 Smart Cities’ in the union budget and allocation of Rs 7,600 crore there is a great excitement amongst the states and cities all over the country to take advantage. However, the general understanding of ‘what is a Smart City?’ is not very known, nor there exists any trained man power or expertise who could guide and handhold such development or at least make a road map,” said faculty for the Smart City court Saswat Bandyopadyay.

It is in this background that the course has been designed and conceptualised. The course is scheduled to be launched from July 25. “The course announcement is an instant hit among the university students, wherein more than 120 students applied for this course for a class capacity of 40,” Bandyopadyay added.

He, however, was of the opinion that there was still lack of clarity with regard to smart cities and its elements relevant in India. There is need for a guideline as to what qualifies as a smart city, he further added.

Sejal Patel another faculty for the course said that the four-month long course will have a participative and case-study driven approach where in the students will be given idea about the global discourse on Smart Cities and its concept. “Following this there will be discussion on the policies of the Indian government with regard to Smart Cities and analysis of the budget allocations for the same,” Patel explained. Based on the inputs from all the experts and faculty, the students will take their position with regard to Smart Cities and develop their own concept for the same, Patel added.

The elective course will attempt to expose the course participants to global and regional discourses, policies and practices of ‘Smart Urbanism’ and ‘Cities’ across regions including the issues of inclusiveness, feasibility and sustainability. The course will be delivered through a mix of interactive class room sessions, review of case studies, short talks and movies and participatory exploration.
The course will initially be offered to the masters degree level students of architecture, planning, technology and management students of CEPT University as an elective. Based on the response Faculty of Planning, which has initiated the course, plans to offer it to a larger audience like government officials involved in city planning.